This book provides a clear and accessible guide to the essential features of interwar British fascism. It focuses on the various fascist parties, fascist personalities and fascist ideologies. The book also looks at British culture and develops the knowledge of undergraduate students by providing a solid source of background material on this important area of interwar British history. The focus on fascist culture throws new light on the character of native fascism and suggests a potentially rich vein of new enquiry for scholars of British fascism. The book considers the membership strength of Britain's interwar fascist parties. The ideas of racial Social-Darwinism influenced British fascism in a number of ways. To begin with, hereditarian ideas and biological determinist models contributed to the emergence of racial theories of anti-semitism. The anti-semitism of the Imperial Fascist League was of a very different order from that of the British fascism. Moreover, to Britain's fascists, artistic modernism, with its creative use of distortion, disintegrative images and general disdain for the traditional discipline of the art form, made a virtue of deformity. The search to uncover the anti-liberal and anti-capitalist pre-fascist lineage would become a highly subjective exercise in invention and take the fascists on an imaginative journey deep into the British past.
a distinct and readily perceivable historical and intellectual genealogy. At the intellectual level, the cultural ideas of British fascism drew on and absorbed concepts from a variety of both European and native sources. With regard to the former, British fascistculture developed within the broad European-wide cultural critique of liberal rationalism and positivism that originated in the 1890s, and was thus an organic element of it. Fin-de-siècle anti-rationalist thinkers like Nietzsche, Bergson, Sorel and Le Bon all developed concepts that found their way
the institutions of the Interior Ministry. This was also
reflected in the early fascist Government’s wavering attitude concerning
the role which different police forces should play in the new political
order, before Mussolini finally invested the Interior Ministry Police as
the leading organ responsible for defending his dictatorship.
Chapter 2 analyses how effectively a fascistculture penetrated
the police. It contrasts the regime’s official and much propagandised
integration of the Public Security forces into the new political order
with the ideological and
This book examines the careers and lives of regular Italian police personnel against the background of Benito Mussolini's rise to power and his attempted construction of a new fascist civilisation. It analyses how, and to what extent, the new regime transformed the existing structures and functions of the Italian police. The book explores the cultural environment in which Mussolini's policeman acted. In spite of notable levels of support for fascism among policemen, Mussolini's movement was hesitant in its relations with the police, particularly the institutions of the Interior Ministry. It analyses how effectively a fascist culture penetrated the police. The book contrasts the regime's official and much propagandised integration of the Public Security forces into the new political order with the ideological and professional shortcomings behind recruitment and training procedures. The professional tasks entrusted to the regular organs of the Interior Ministry Police and the Carabinieri at the level of the community and the type of relationships that arose are then examined. An assessment of the quality of performance of the regular police and the effectiveness of internal hierarchical structures governing them during the fascist years follows. The book reviews the profiles of the careers and lives of a selection of members of the Interior Ministry Police, with a view to consolidate an understanding of the various issues. Finally, it considers how the Italian police forces reacted to the gradual demise of fascism, underlining how their growing dissociation from the regime reflected its failure to engender lasting loyalty among personnel.
Anglophobia in Fascist Italy traces the roots of Fascist Anglophobia from the Great War and through the subsequent peace treaties and its development during the twenty years of Mussolini’s regime. Initially, Britain was seen by many Italians as a ‘false friend’ who was also the main obstacle to Italy’s foreign policy aspirations, a view embraced by Mussolini and his movement. While at times dormant, this Anglophobic sentiment did not disappear in the years that followed, and was later rekindled during the Ethiopian War. The peculiarly Fascist contribution to the assessment of Britain was ideological. From the mid-1920s, the regime’s intellectuals saw Fascism as the answer to a crisis in the Western world and as irredeemably opposed to Western civilisation of the sort exemplified by Britain. Britain was described as having failed the ‘problem of labour’, and Fascism framed as a salvation ideology, which nations would either embrace or face decay. The perception of Britain as a decaying and feeble nation increased after the Great Depression. The consequence of this was a consistent underrating of British power and resolve to resist Italian ambitions. An analysis of popular reception of the Fascist discourse shows that the tendency to underrate Britain had permeated large sectors of the Italian people, and that public opinion was more hostile to Britain than previously thought. Indeed, in some quarters hatred towards the British lasted until the end of the Second World War, in both occupied and liberated Italy.
-1914 fascistculture on his
part – ignores the triggering factor of the war (O’Brien, 2005: 49). Trotsky’s
assertion of the role played by un-dialectical thinking in the desertion of
Marxism by a series of American renegades only raises more questions about
why they challenged the dialectic to begin with. But more importantly, it
cannot explain why this anti-dialectical method did not prevent them from
being radicals for a sustained period of time before becoming castaways.
Thus the flawed radical approach can be criticised for underplaying the
political context and
and often fascist, cultures developed in various ways in Britain.
Typically, antisemitism was at the heart of this politics, but this
prejudice came in a variety of forms, from the anti-immigration protests
of the British Brothers’ League to the
Nazi-inspired conspiracist outlook of the Imperial Fascist League . This milieu was much more complex than
just Mosley ’s more well-known British
sophisticated, being the product of dialogue among the regime’s intellectuals,
and it usually took place in ‘highbrow’ magazines like Gerarchia or Primato.
Fascist public discourse was, of course, often factually wrong, and always as biased as one might expect it to be, but it was far from mere propaganda. Rather,
it was the shaper of Fascistculture, just as much as it was shaped by it. Yet even
less complex propaganda worked as an osmotic process. As Philip M. Taylor underlined, even scholars in democracies who write of history without consciously
was not just seen an antagonist, but as an unavoidable and decadent one.
These two factors contributed to lead the country towards war and defeat.
If not the myth of British weakness, Fascist Anglophobia survived both
war and defeat. Italian neo-Fascistculture, which struggled to find a new
self-definition in the immediate postwar years, was torn apart by its position
between the West and the East in the new Cold War era.3 While the neofascist press was generally critical of the United States, the Movimento Sociale Italiano eventually placed itself firmly in the